There are so many joints in your body that function without us having to pay them much attention. That is, of course, until an important joint starts to function improperly or causes us pain. The temporomandibular joint is a perfect example. While few of us notice this joint functioning in our everyday lives, it is extremely important to our jaw function. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to speak or chew. This joint works to allow the forward, backward and side-to-side movement of our jaw, and when it’s not functioning properly, it can cause TMJ syndrome, or pain in the jaw area. Symptoms of TMJ disorder can include a clicking jaw, headaches, soreness, and lock jaw, to name a few. The good news is, there are plenty of at-home relaxation techniques for TMJ symptoms to help you lessen or eliminate TMJ discomfort. Below are some of our recommendations for at-home exercises.

Business woman with headache from TMJ pain

Strength and Conditioning Exercises

While we normally think of working out major muscle groups at the gym when we imagine strength and conditioning exercises, strengthening exercises can actually do wonders for preventing TMJ pain from returning once it has subsided. The exercises are simple to do and can be performed at home without any equipment. Simply open and close your mouth while placing some type of resistance under your chin (your hand will work just fine). Open and close your mouth slowly while applying resistance with your hand, and adjust the resistance accordingly, so it is difficult but not impossible to perform the exercise.

Stretch Your Temporomandibular Joint

Stretching out the joint can be a great relaxation technique for TMJ pain. Keep in mind, this exercise should be performed once pain has subsided, and can be used as a preventative measure. To perform the stretch, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and apply pressure. With your teeth slightly apart, gently open your mouth while keeping pressure on the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Hold here for a few seconds, then slowly close your mouth.

Body and Mind Relaxation

Breathing and meditation exercises are fantastic relaxation techniques for TMJ sufferers. You can perform these exercises anywhere, as long as you’re in an appropriate place to take a few moments to close your eyes and be quiet. Start with a simple breathing exercises. Take a deep breath in for a count of three seconds, hold for one second, and slowly let your breathe for another count of three. Repeat this exercise a few times over. You can also simply close your eyes and focus on your breathe, allowing thoughts to melt away and maintaining focus inward.

If you’ve been suffering in silence from jaw pain caused by TMJ syndrome, you don’t have to. Try these easy, at-home relaxation techniques for TMJ to help control and prevent current and future discomfort. Of course, if pain persists, schedule an appointment to see your dentist for other treatment options. Remember, TMJ is treatable and manageable with the right help.